Virus on Vacation | SICK BABY and EMOTIONAL RELEASE
Poor Dakota caught the crud during our travels (Sick babies are so hard to watch, you just feel so helpless as a parent!).
After a couple days of consistently high fevers and rattling cough, we decided to take her in to the local doctors office, where the doctor determined a virus was running it’s course.
After discharge, Sis and I hung out back at our room, with Mama and a bottle of Tylenol (she ended up cutting four new teeth during our travel. Oh girl, you sure give us a run for our money!).
Canyon toured the local aquarium and enjoyed lunch with Mom and grandparents while Sis and I rested.
When one is in a foreign place with a sick child, one has to start thinking of possibilities – and it can easily turn to panic. I admittedly called my son’s day with his grandparents a bit short after sister woke up from a nap and struggled to breathe a little bit. I knew they were at least twenty minutes or more away, and they had the carseat in their possession.
As I watched her fuss and try to get comfortable with over a hundred degree fever, I tried not to overreact: practicing breathing techniques while walking with her on the covered patio (the lanai) for some fresh air. When she started coughing and struggling to catch a deep breath for a minute, I called my wife and asked her to start thinking about heading back towards us, juuust incase.
After a few more moments of wet and weak crying, she worked up whatever phlegm was bothering her. I guess. She seemed to calm down remarkably within moments, and then resumed her teething status of gnawing on her knuckles and refusing her bottle. She had to be hungry, by now. I sat her in her high chair and sat on the couch next to her in the shared kitchen-living space. After a few calm moments I decided to give her a snack.
I cut up a few sliced olives into even smaller pieces, thinking a bite of her favorite special treat (yeah, weird, I know) might help her aching gums. Of course midway through a bite she has another coughing fit, inhaling the olive segment. As I unbuckled her and began to pull her from her highchair, the particle unlodged itself, flying past my cheek and landing on the couch behind us. That’s when I finally lost it, and started crying, myself.
I think it was lack of sleep, a bit of a stressful travel, and dealing all day with a sick baby that just had me extra on edge. I just held her and quietly cried (as she sobbed) for a minute. Then, just like that, the storm was over.
Everything calmed. The ocean could be heard once more, it’s unwavering presence temporarily dulled by the drama in moments before. This feeling, this emotional release, was imminent. I had been burning the candle at both ends lately, trying to keep up with life and the pursuit of not forgetting anything while planning and doing all the things. My sick children seemed to be an embodiment of the stress I had been dealing with, leading up to this vacation. We were supposed to relax and leave it all at home while we enjoyed the beach, but the truth is you can’t run away from it all.
Even though we try to portray happiness and success in our social lives, everyone has struggles they go through and internal challenges they face. This good cry was unintentional, unexpected and exactly what I needed.
It felt good, and I’m not ashamed to say it. I didn’t feel weak for not ‘being strong’ for my children. I had been strong all day. All week. Most of the month. But sometimes, being strong means taking care of yourself. And a good cry helped me release my own frustration so I could be a better parent.
AND THAT’S OKAY.
I was so relieved to see my family walk through the door at just as I pulled myself together. What a sweet moment of relief!
Of course, the second they arrived home the stinker was able to put on a smile and drink a bottle.
Then, it was to off the pool for me! I was happy to start (and finish!) a good book, a rarity these days that used to be a weekly part of my life. I still felt a bit anxious, on edge. Not feeling the typical vacation vibe, but still just embracing this season of my life and thankful for it. After all, I could be at the E.R. right now, with sick babies. Instead, I am able to sit with a hot cup of soup and a cold drink, next to a pool with strangers that I don’t have to try to impress or small talk with. Just my sunnies and a hat and a book.
I could finally just take a few deep breaths and recharge my batteries. No vlogging, no editing. Just immersing myself in a book and shutting out the rest of the world. Letting the blood settle back into my tight extremities, the buzzing in my head calmed with each chapter.
Then, suddenly, I felt pulled back. As if a light switch flipped on. My head was telling me “Just stay here and finish the book. There’s nothing you can really do at home, the doctor says ride it out. She’s with competent adults, three of them.”
My heart said, simply: go.
Being a mom is very strange and wonderful and not at all what I expected. It’s better. And harder. Just as I walked back, I met my wife at our glass door, and she was happy to see me. Setting down a sick child to mix a bottle is never fun, and some of us are skilled at one-handed bottle making. Some of us aren’t so much, but have plenty of other life skills to offer the world. 😉 Anyway, she was glad I was there! My mommy-sense was right (that sounds so god awful cheesy, the Spidey Sense pun, but it’s true!). I was able to help with bedtime… and the poop my toddler had just as I was arriving.
Have I mentioned my family has impeccable timing in almost all that we do?
Being an introvert can be very taxing, it’s strange but true. I felt like I needed a vacation after this trip, but also realize every single moment how truly VERY amazingly WONDERFULLY blessed I am to be living this life.
It’s nice to reconnect with yourself and loved ones on a vacation away from everyday life – even when everyday troubles find you in paradise, you’re still in paradise!
Glad to report everyone is better now, but it was a humbling experience. I’ll always have the information of a local clinic, and even though we are now in a fight with our insurance over the out-of-network bill (after two hours of phone conversations before even going to the clinic), it was worth it for piece of mind. I can’t imagine getting on a plane two days later, had she still been struggling like that.
Canyon came down with whatever sister had, just as we were leaving the island. You can see him without a shirt in the video below, during our dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise. Poor guy was so hot and uncomfortable, but I am glad we are all over ‘the crud’ now!
Watch the video to ‘hang out with us’ on our last few days in Maui:
Mahalo, Hawaii! We have unfinished business (we’ll be back)!